Both video and audio for this clip were recorded in a single session at the flood-destroyed Graetzmedia studios in West End, Queensland, Australia.
To achieve a perfect focus pull over the 4-minute staring contest, I modified the camBLOCK moco system to control a follow focus whip. This clip was the first shoot to utilise this technique. Several months later, camBLOCK shipped their official focus/zoom motors.
There is no trickery in the single-shot nature of this piece. Cowper really can keep his eyes open for that long. In the dozen or so takes we shot, I think he blinked in two of them.
Here’s a bit from his most recent email newsletter:
Dear People of Australia
I leave the northern hemisphere tomorrow, hurtling through the sky like a magical balding lunatic to your beautiful and cruel shores. So basically, this is just an email to remind you, that im coming, to prepare yourselves physically and emotionally and to politely suggest that you buy tickets to my show.
Im not being produced by any venues or festivals this time and am touring far more in the manner that I would at home. Which is to say, swaggering about in a self important manner, not really doing any press, minimal advertising and relying on the power of my mailing list to access an enthusiastic and loyal audience who would walk into fire if I suggested it. There are of course, pros and cons to this charmingly low key/repugnantly arrogant behaviour. On the upside, I’m not contractually obligated to engage in interviews that make me want to weep and secondly I can have significantly cheaper tickets than on many previous visits. I’ve been genuinely uncomfortable in the past with some of the ticket prices and my inability to control them as I do at home, so this time I’ve tried to keep them as close to $25 as I can. Which I know is still not super cheap, but it is better than a kick in the nuts.*
On the downside though, ive not really sold that many tickets. Especially in Adelaide where I cleverly combined my lack of press and marketing with a stupidly large room in a tactically astute combination almost purpose built for humiliation. So, if you can think of anyone who may fancy it. Please do let them know.
Feel free to spread the word, basically, in any of the various social media you people frequent. I’d be very grateful, but please be careful to articulate the nature of the show accurately? That would be lovely. It is, for the record, a storytelling show, that’s very funny, a little sad, a bit uplifting and a touch melancholy. It’s not stand up basically. And i wouldnt want people coming thinking it was. Im sure you understand. I’d hate to sell a ticket for an apple when all I have is oranges.**
* – “A kick in the nuts” is a term used by monetary academics to indicate an overpriced ticket to a piece of melancholy, uplifting, and comedic storytelling.
** – This is a proverb. A new one. I just made it up. Spread it. That’s how Aesop started.
I’ll be going to the Monday and Wednesday shows. Rowley is going to all three, because after the last one we said “Next time he comes, we have to go to more than one showing”. There you go.